Opp demands inquiry into allegations of violation of rules in land acquisition by co co-founded by CM's wife

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 08-12-2021 21:46 IST | Created: 08-12-2021 21:46 IST
Opp demands inquiry into allegations of violation of rules in land acquisition by co co-founded by CM's wife
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The Opposition in Assam on Wednesday demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged acquisition of government land by a real estate company co-founded by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's wife, Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and the vice-president of BJP Kisan Morcha Ranjit Bhattacharya in violation of rules governing its possession, sale and use.

The Congress, Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal have demanded the high level inquiry into the purpoted violations, which was reported by a national and an Assamese portal.

The portals, which worked jointly on the issue, claimed that a company called RBS Realtors Private Limited co-founded by the chief minister's wife and in which their son also held a significant share, had as per official record acquired around 18 acres of government land the city's Jalukbari area, which is Sarma's assembly constituency.

The leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly, Debabrata Saikia said that the report has pointed out that the company has violated the Assam Land Rules, 1989 and Assam Fixation of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1956 as beneficiaries granted ceiling surplus land by the state government are prohibited from selling that land for a period of ten years. The sale and registration of these plots in the name of the company, however, took place in less than three months after the allotment to the beneficiaries violating the provision of the mandatory 10-year lock-in period. ''An inquiry must be conducted into how a company owned by a family member of the chief minister acquired the ceiling surplus land from the original beneficiaries, who as per the rules should have returned the land to the government if they did not require it. The officials responsible for this violation should be booked accordingly,'' Saikia said. Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi called it a ''huge land scandal'' committed by the family of the chief minister. ''Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said 'Na khaunga, na khane dunga'. Now what will he do? Will the PM take action? Hope the prime minister will keep his promise,'' the independent MLA said.

The BJP government led by Sarma had evicted the erosion-hit landless people across the state. ''But will he now take action against the irregularities committed by a company owned by his wife which grabbed land meant for the poor?'' he asked. AJP President Lurinjyoti Gogoi too demanded an inquiry into the allegations if the government fails to give a valid explanation on it within 24 hours. ''If the government fails to give an explanation within 24 hours and as CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are under the government control, we will consider moving the court seeking an inquiry by a Gauhati High Court judge,'' he said. The web portals claimed in their report that RBS Realtors Private Limited had acquired most of the 18 acres in two stages - first in 2006-2007 and then in 2009 when Sarma’s wife was one of its directors.

She resigned from the directorship in June 2009 and businessman Ashok Kumar Dhanuka took over the post. But Bhattacharya, believed to be a close associate of the chief minister, continued as the other director of the company. Several new shareholders were then incorporated into the company and RBS Realtors applied for a change of name and re-incorporated itself as Vasistha Realtors Pvt Ltd. The common corporate identification number of the two companies, as shown in union corporate affairs ministry documents, prove that it is the same company, the report said.

The details of the company’s ownership of the land in question are available at ‘Dharitri’, the Assam government portal which provides a digital record of land ownership in the state, it said. Repeated attempts to contact the chief minister's office for a reaction on the allegations and the demands made by the opposition parties drew a blank.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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